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Occupy Wall Street Movement Kicks Off 2012 With Demos

With Occupy the Rose Parade going off without a hitch, the Occupy Wall Street movement kicks off 2012 with a strong number of demonstrations.

Ringing in the New Year, the annual Tournament of Roses Parade, viewed by 47 million Americans across the country, ended with roughly 5000 peaceful Occupy Wall Street movement demonstrators. It was a move negotiated between the City of Pasadena and Occupy the Rose Parade organizers which allowed participants to march in the parade with anti-corporate, anti-wall street banners, countering a parade known for its traditional corporate ties. Occupy protesters from Los Angeles camped along the parade route, hoping cameras would catch a glimpse of their signs while others arrived early for bleacher seats to support Occupy the Rose Parade marchers. 

The month of January continues to shape up with hundreds of Occupy protesters from across the country descending on Washington DC forOccupy Congress on January 17, when the House is scheduled to be in session. Some of the movement’s best bloggers, livestreamers and social media geniuses will document this historic gathering. Members of the 112th Congress have shown mixed emotions towards Occupy Wall Street. Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor, R-VA., expressed concern of the "growing mobs that occupy wall street" whereas House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-CA., said she supports the growing nationwide Occupy Wall Street movement. Whether the Congressional reception to the Occupy Wall Street movement is warm or cold, Occupy protesters have chosen to rally its political voice on Capitol Hill to draw attention that corporate money has corrupted our elected officials.

Inspired by the arrest of Princeton professor Cornel West on the steps of the Supreme Court and marking the second anniversary of Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, Move to Amend declared January 20 as a national day of protest known as Occupy The Courts, targeting the courts as a possibility to bring cases against corporate power and government abuse. According to the Move to Amend website, there are hundreds of demonstrations scheduled across the country taking place at Federal buildings, Capitol buildings and local courthouses, calling for an end to corporate personhood.

Across the country on the West Coast, the San Francisco-Bay Area continues to be a hot bed for the Occupy Wall Street movement with organizers coordinating a day of action to protest the financial district in downtown San Francisco in what is coined as Occupy Wall Street West. After a couple of cargo port shutdowns in Oakland, hundreds are now focusing attention to office high-rises which are home to the 1% corporations that contributed to the financial crisis and economic meltdown. Occupy Wall Street West organizers are encouraging people to take the day off from work, school and participate. The day long action of flash mobs, bike-powered concerts, occupations of financial and political offices, chanting, picketing and freeway blogging will culminate in a massive march on January 20.  

Meanwhile, Occupy protesters in Longview, Washington, are supporting the local International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) in their ongoing battle to gain jobs at a new grain terminal operated by the EGT. While ILWU represents workers at all West Coast grain terminals, EGT has excluded them from the new site. Union members have taken action, halting trains from entering the terminal. Organizers now have their sights set on the arrival of the first cargo ship to the grain terminal. Occupy protesters along the West Coast are on stand-by to join the port protest. A date for the shipment has not yet been set.

Later, millions of women across the globe will collectively rise up on March 8, International Women's Day, to put a spotlight on the need for social and economic justice. Women have played a crucial role in the Arab Spring and Occupy Wall Street movement. WomenOccupy, a network of women in the movement, are providing a space to connect, share, learn, and build to confront corporate greed and monetary inequality and address patriarchy, heterosexism and transphobia within the Occupy Wall Street movement.

While Occupy Wall Street was met with chilly evictions over the winter, the spirit has heated up in moving its persistency against social and economic inequality and greed from outside the urban camps to inside the pillars of power, continuing to have unity in decentralized demonstrations.

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